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Depression and Infertility

As Seen in the November Edition of "Your Health Magazine" VA Edition

Women in today’s world have reaped the benefits of the outcomes of the women’s liberation movement. Today’s women have the opportunity to develop their careers and postpone establishing families. “Having it all” appears to be the underlying message women are getting from society. The idea of “not having” it all does not come into the developing psyche of young women today. Fertility is taken for granted and having the spouse, house and 1.5 children and the dog is something that goes on a “to-do” list without a second thought. For some women, pregnancy and motherhood is often seen as a right of passage into adulthood. When a women decides that it is her time to achieve this milestone, often times she finds out that she cannot. Attempts at having a child fail and infertility becomes her new norm. With infertility comes physical symptoms and emotional symptoms. Although infertility specialist can try to address the physical symptoms of infertility, too often the emotional side is never addressed.

According to the Holmes and Rahe scale, the top ten most stressful life events for adults are: Death of a spouse, Divorce, Marital separation, Imprisonment, Death of a close family member, Personal injury or illness, Marriage, Dismissal from work, Marital reconciliation, and Retirement. Unfortunately, Infertility is not on this list. For me, Infertility should be on this list and would be right next to Death of Spouse/family member . Parenthood is one of the most major transitions for women and the stress of the inability to conceive can often bring on emotions of anger, depression, anxiety, marital or relationship conflict and social isolation. Women often suffer in isolation and can experience the five stages of grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. However , often times getting to acceptance takes longer without intervention. It has been seen that cognitive behavioral group psychotherapy and support groups decrease stress and mood symptoms. Interventions that decrease emotional symptoms and stress provides overall well being for those women. Fertility is a heart wrenching and emotional experience, that without therapeutic intervention can cause prolonged emotional symptoms. With therapeutic intervention, women can find hope and cope with the road they choose to follow after the diagnosis.

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